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Published: Oct 23, 2012

There's no denying that pet owners spend a lot of money on their dogs. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $50.96 billion on their animals in 2011. This year, that figure is expected to increase to more than $52 billion.

It's interesting to note that many dogs and cats are living longer as well. The Boston Globe reports that just 42 percent of dogs were over the age of 6 in 1987. In the years since, that figure has increased to 48 percent, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Cats are living longer, too. In 1987, 29 percent of cats were over the age of 6. By 2011, 50 percent of cats lived past the age of 6, according to the newspaper.

Obviously, improved pet health has helped our furry friends live longer, fuller lives.

With many pets living well into their senior years, pet product companies have developed many new products that make life easier for older animals. One such product is routinely spotted in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston - the doggie stroller.

While some dog owners use these animal transportation systems as a way to pamper their lazy pets or show off a particularly pretty pooch, others use them for animals who truly need help getting around, due to arthritis in dogs or other health problems.

April Soderstrom, a dog owner from Boston, recently told The Boston Globe that a $130 jogging stroller purchased on eBay made it possible for her to transport her injured French bulldog, Louis, back and forth to the park near her home.

"I wanted to keep him happy," Soderstrom told the newspaper. "Louis loves it. He stands right next to it waiting to be picked up and put in."

While some pet owners may reuse a regular baby stroller to transport an injured pet, there are many models made specifically for animals on the market.

"It's crazy," Tierra Bonaldi from the American Pet Products Association told the news source. "Some cost hundreds of dollars."

She noted that the popularity of dog strollers started to increase about six years ago.

The high-end models come with convenience items like a cup holder, storage bin and brakes. Some are built on aluminum-alloy frames to ensure they're light and easy to maneuver.

Dog strollers are also not just for little dogs. Several models are big enough for dogs up to 150 pounds.